The Sweet Hereafter
A small mountain community in Canada is devastated when a school bus accident leaves more than a dozen of its children dead. A big-city lawyer (Ian Holm) arrives to help the survivors' and victims' families prepare a class-action suit, but his efforts only seem to push the townspeople further apart. At the same time, one teenage survivor of the accident (Sarah Polley) has to reckon with the loss of innocence brought about by a different kind of damage.
The Sweet Hereafter was directed by Atom Egoyan and is based on the novel by Russell Banks.
Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan's most ambitious work to date, The Sweet Hereafter is a rich, complex meditation on the impact of a terrible tragedy on a small town.
Chicago Sun-Times/Roger Ebert
This is one of the best films of the year, an unflinching lament for the human condition.
N.Y. Times/Janet Maslin
In a season of expertly adapted contemporary fiction (like "L.A. Confidential" and "The Ice Storm"), this fusion of Banks's and Egoyan's sensibilities stands as a particularly inspired mix.
Chicago Tribune/Michael Wilmington
Masterpiece is the right word for The Sweet Hereafter. It is extraordinary: a poem of familial pain, a song of broken embraces.
A solemn, subtly structured, beautifully acted and ultimately hypnotic movie.
Christian Science Monitor/Richard Sterritt
This poetic and compassionate drama by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan combines the intricate structure of his earlier movies with an emotional power that raises his remarkable career to a whole new level.